Floodwaters force closure at popular Panther Swamp
Turkey season has closed at a popular public hunting area in the Delta before it ever started.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that floodwaters have forced the suspension of turkey hunting at Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
“It will not reopen this spring,” spokesperson Dove Barnes confirmed in a phone call Tuesday afternoon.
While Mississippi’s statewide turkey season opens Friday, the Panther Swamp season was scheduled to open on April 1. According to USFWS officials, high water conditions in the Mississippi River floodplain have impacted local wildlife populations, threatened infrastructure and risked public safety.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has already closed most areas of the Delta to recreational boating.
Both the federal and state wildlife agencies are increasing law enforcement presence in the affected areas to promote safety and protect the natural resources.
Signage and barricades have been placed at several access points throughout Panther Swamp NWR. Visitors are required to adhere to all signs and notifications as they may indicate impassable areas or areas of safety concern. Some areas such as the West Levee Road remain open. Fishing is also allowed during this period, but anglers should use extreme caution due to high water levels.
The Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex Headquarters office remains open and is located at the Big Twist Area on Panther Swamp NWR, east of the intersection of Highways 149 and 16. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For any questions regarding general information or closures call (662) 836-3004.